David McLaughlin


Ene and I were recently invited to be visiting artists at Waterfall Arts in Belfast, Maine. We will be facilitating a three day symposium on Deep Craft from November 13-16.

When I was visiting the site over the summer I had the good fortune to meet David McLaughlin, an artist and set designer who lives in a rambling 19th century cannery in nearby Liberty, Maine. My friend John Bielenberg introduced us and David took us both on a quick tour of his compound, which is absolutely chock full of things David has been collecting and archiving for over thirty years. I hope to spend more time with David in November and he has given me permission to photograph his collections, which I will feature on these pages. The sheer scale, range and aesthetic appeal of the objects defies description, but I took a photo of one of the wood stoves David has made with materials he salvaged .


At one point David, who studied theatre at Yale and is comically aware of his OCD tendencies said, “Once you start a collection and build a community, it would be wrong not to add to the community..”

Indeed, his vast collections are so lovingly tended and diverse within their similarities that they take on distinct personalities. David treats things as though they are conscious and belong to ‘families’. His rambling cannery is a museum of his urge to collect and salvage, a taxonomy of “formerly useful things”.

3 replies on “David McLaughlin”

  1. Good to find your photo tonight while I was looking for traces of David. And to know that you have photographed him and his collections. Poignant how you referred to his metal collections as his families. I hope that we can walk through the cannery and honor the deep deep craft and life work he created there.
    All Best,
    Lucinda Ziesing

  2. I am looking for traces of David also. Is there any info concerning this weekend.
    I know next to nothing. Thank You
    from Canada.

  3. Hi Melissa-
    I’d recommend calling the folks at Waterfall Arts. I know David does some work for them,l and they seem to keep tabs. Good luck! Scott

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